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Gaining a clearer view.

The back story

As with all local authorities, this city council are facing tough challenges as public spending is reducing, populations are growing and costs are rising.

To respond to these challenges, the council will become smaller and more efficient. They will be expected to collaborate more with external partners, enable more citizens to take an active role in the community and create a more connected council. To help them achieve this, they have set out a cultural change plan focussing on their organisational values and developing their staff to fully contribute to the way ahead to help modernise the council.

The journey

The council had been running a survey internally every other year, but decided to gain external specialist support to specifically measure and understand employee engagement. Through a tender exercise, Ixia were selected to partner with the council for three years to help develop their engagement strategy. The first step was to engage with the organisation and understand what had been done previously and why, to engage all the relevant stakeholders, such as senior leaders, unions, HR and equalities representatives. It soon became clear that historically the survey was used to get feedback on different initiatives rather than specifically focussed on measuring employee engagement.

We worked with the various stakeholders to understand what the core purpose of the survey needed to be going forwards to be useful as a tool to drive forward the cultural change programme. We established a clear purpose and gained buy in from everyone. This enabled us to design a clear, short and meaningful set of questions which measured employees’ engagement and wellbeing as well as providing a tracker for monitoring the progress of the cultural change.

We delivered the survey both online and via paper which enabled us to connect with hard to reach employees and worked hard with the organisation to drive up response rates.

The result

Within two weeks the survey finishing, we were sitting round the table with the Leadership Team. We were sharing the high level results and delivering our understanding of progress and performance levels across the different teams within the council. The leadership team all appreciated the simplicity of the reporting, the clear steer on priority areas of focus and the insights that we shared about how they compared to other councils.

Within a month, we’d shared The results with the entire management team, facilitating debate and discussion of the priorities and what actions could be taken to address the priorities.

For the first time within the council, there was a detailed cascade process and guidance for managers to deliver The results to their teams. There was an action plan at their local level as well as a clear mandate to include their objectives into their departmental improvement plans.

Monitoring engagement & cultural progress is now owned by the business not HR and there is a commitment to review it annually as a key metric within the organisation.